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Mon May 23, 2016, 08:41 AM

Want to help Haiti? Act like a tourist

MISSION TRIP GROUPS POUR INTO HAITI EACH WEEK, BUT THE GROUPS OFTEN AVOID A KEY PART OF HELPING HAITI: SPENDING MONEY.

GRAND GOAVE, Haiti - The mission trip groups pour into Haiti's Port-au-Prince airport each week, adorned in colorful matching T-shirts identifying their causes. They've come to this mountainous island - plagued in recent years by earthquakes, cholera and political unrest - to hand out food, paint houses and even perform eye surgery.

They are here to help. But the groups often avoid a crucial component of stimulating the Haitian economy: spending money. Typically, the groups stay within a mission campus, sleep in bunk dorms, eat food they brought and work on their project, rarely venturing out to taste the island nation's cuisine and explore its culture.

It's an issue that the Franklin-based Hands and Feet Project recognized as its founders looked for ways to help the abandoned children they cared for in the towns of Jacmel and Grand Goave transition to adulthood. The group has overhauled the mission trip model to encourage U.S. visitors to eat at local restaurants, employ Haitians as trip guides, pay for hotel-like accommodations and buy goods made in the communities they visited.

The Hands and Feet Project vision is for Haitian teenagers and young adults to take visitors hiking along the green mountain ridges, paddleboarding and snorkeling in the clear ocean water or on day trips to the artist community in Jacmel.





http://www.tennessean.com/story/money/2016/05/21/want-help-haiti-act-like-tourist/32607391/

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Reply Want to help Haiti? Act like a tourist (Original post)
IronLionZion May 2016 OP
dembotoz May 2016 #1
IronLionZion May 2016 #2
zalinda May 2016 #3

Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 08:58 AM

1. only stands to reason

sometimes the obvious is hidden

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 09:15 AM

2. The intentions are good, but there are always side effects

like many Americans might think tourism "ruins" another country's culture, without thinking about how it helps local people earn a living.

And of course the missions and charities mean well, but there are various ways to help. And different types of people who benefit from employment.

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Response to IronLionZion (Original post)

Mon May 23, 2016, 10:19 AM

3. A lot of missions to these areas

don't have a lot of money to spend. There should be some sort of Haiti mission coordinator that sets up the information of buying food locally, hiring local cooks and such. Many missions back in their countries have no idea if they can be accommodated so they end up bringing everything they need.

They need eco tourists who have the money to spend. The Hands and Feet Project better start sending out press releases to the eco magazines.

Z

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